Medieval Weights and Measures

A very useful resource and interesting to see the measurements we no longer use.

A Writer's Perspective

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I’m sorry, but there is really no way to make this interesting.  In my novels the characters talk about how far they’ve travelled, how much things weigh and how much ale is left in a barrel. In order to do this convincingly, they can’t talk about kilometres, kilogrammes and litres. It turns out that they can talk about feet, yards and miles, though, which is a relief.

Measurements were starting to become standardised in the fourteenth century. Weights were supposed to be standardised to what was used in Winchester, but many towns retained their local weights and measures. I can see that there might have been some very great misunderstandings when people from different parts of the country had dealings with one another.

These are the most common medieval weights and measures:

Distance

Furlong – the length of a furrow of a field ploughed by a team of eight oxen…

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Introducing The Unlaced Ladies.

Chicks,Rogues and Scandals

Just over a year ago nine incredible Historical Romance author’s banded together to create the hugely popular Facebook based; Unlaced Book Club, a very special place where authors, readers and like-minded individuals all get together to discuss Romance, History and have a lot of cheeky fun in between.

Now a year on and with enough books to fill a library and with over two hundred members this club is going from strength to strength and I feel very privileged to be a part of it and be able to experience the fun and good-natured banter that makes this Book Club so special.

So, who are these nine women who brought all this fun and hilarity to the world?

Each one of them are extraordinary writers with the best Romance brain’s in the business, between the nine of them they have brought to the world Rugged Medieval Knight’s, Sinfully Handsome Rakes…

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Medieval Monday First Encounter

We’re finished with this round of Medieval Monday. A new theme will be along in the new year. I didn’t want to leave you with nothing to read though so I thought I’d share the first encounter between Eleanor and Will from my Midwinter book, A Wager for the Widow

A Wager for the Widow

The ferryman braced his back and rammed his pole into the riverbank. The craft creaked alarmingly as it started to move away from the shore, the great chain that spanned the river pulling taut.

The shrill blast of a hunting horn sounded, ripping apart the peace. A commanding voice shouted, ‘Ferryman, stop!’

Eleanor peered back at the riverbank. A rider on an imposing chestnut-coloured horse was galloping along the road at the edge of the water. He pulled the horse up short.

‘You’re too late, my friend, the current has us now,’ the ferryman called back.

‘Wait, I tell you. I must cross today. I have business to attend to.’ The rider’s voice was deep and urgent, his face hidden beneath the hood of a voluminous burgundy cloak. The ferryman shrugged his shoulders and dug his pole into the river, pushing further away. Keeping one eye on the drama playing out, Eleanor walked carefully around behind the carriage and made her way to the other side of the deck to get a better view.

What happened next had the texture of a dream. The horseman cursed and wheeled his mount around. He galloped away from the water’s edge, then turned back. With a sudden bellow he cracked the reins sharply and sped back towards the river. As the horse reached the edge, the rider spurred it forward. The horse leapt through the air with ease to land on the deck alongside Eleanor. The ferry bucked, the far end almost rising from the water. Hooves clattered on the slippery wood and the animal gave a high-pitched whinny of alarm.

It was not going to stop!

As a cumbersome-looking saddlebag swung towards her Eleanor threw herself out of its way. The railing caught her behind the knees and she stumbled backwards, her ankle turning beneath her with a sickening crunch. Crying out, she flailed her arms helplessly, unable to regain her balance as the river came up to meet her.

She saw the horseman lunge towards her, felt his fingers close about her wrist. She gave a sharp cry as her shoulder jolted painfully and her feet slid on the deck. Cold spray splashed over her face as her head fell back, her free fingers brushing the surface of the water.

‘Take hold of me quickly. I can’t stay like this for ever,’ the rider ordered, tightening his grip on her wrist.

Eleanor raised her head to find herself staring up into a pair of blue eyes half-hidden in the depths of the voluminous hood. The rider was leaning along the length of his horse’s neck, body twisted towards Eleanor at what seemed an impossible angle. She fumbled her free hand to clutch on to his arm and he hauled her back to her feet. As she stood upright a spear of pain shot through Eleanor’s ankle. She gave an involuntary gasp and her knees buckled.

With the same speed as his initial rescue, the rider threw his leg across the saddle and dismounted with a thud. His arms found their way round Eleanor’s waist, catching her tight and clasping her to him before she slipped to the ground.

‘I’ve got you. Don’t wriggle!’

The man’s hood fell back and Eleanor saw him clearly for the first time. He was younger than his voice had suggested. A long scar ran from the outside corner of his eye and across his cheek, disappearing beneath a shaggy growth of beard at his jaw. A second ran parallel from below his eye to his top lip. His corn-coloured hair fell in loose tangles to his shoulder. Close up his eyes were startlingly blue.

Footsteps thundered on the deck as Eleanor’s coachman appeared. It struck Eleanor suddenly that the man was still holding her close, much closer than was necessary, in fact. She became conscious of the rise and fall of his chest, moving rhythmically against her own. Her heart was thumping so heavily she was sure he would be able to feel it through her clothing. As to why it was beating so rapidly she refused to think about.

‘You can let go of me now,’ she muttered.

The horseman’s eyes crinkled. ‘I could,’ he said, ‘though I just saved your life. There must be some benefits to rescuing a beautiful maiden in distress and holding her until she stops shaking is one of them. I suppose a kiss of gratitude is out of the question?’

‘You didn’t save my life. I can swim,’ Eleanor cried indignantly. It was true she was trembling, but now it was from anger. ‘I am most certainly not kissing you!’

The man’s forehead crinkled in disbelief. ‘Even though I saved you from a cold bath?’

Eleanor’s cheeks flamed. ‘It was your fault in the first instance, you reckless fool. You could have capsized us all. Your horse might have missed completely.’

The horseman laughed. ‘Nonsense, it was perfectly safe. Tobias could have cleared twice that distance. If you had stood still none of this would have happened. You panicked.’

With an irritated snort Eleanor pushed herself from the man’s grip, contriving to elbow him sharply in the stomach as she did so. She heard a satisfying grunt as she turned her back. She headed to the carriage, but her ankle gave a sharp stab of pain. She stopped, balling her fists in irritation. The horseman leaned round beside her. ‘Allow me,’ he said and before Eleanor could object he had lifted her into his arms and strode the three paces to the carriage. With one hand on the door handle he cocked his head. ‘Still no kiss? Ah, well, it’s a cruel day!’

‘There are no circumstances under which I would kiss you!’ Eleanor said haughtily, sweeping her gaze up and down him.

His face darkened and Eleanor took the opportunity to wriggle from his arms. Biting her lip to distract herself from the throbbing in her ankle, she swung the door open herself and climbed inside, slamming it loudly behind her.

 

Blurb: ‘I SUPPOSE A KISS OF GRATITUDE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION?’

Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!

As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

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The book came out in July 2015 so you’re unlikely to get a print copy but the ebook is available here:

Amazon: viewBook.at/WagerforWidow

Harper Collins: https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9781474006071/a-wager-for-the-widow

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-wager-for-the-widow-elisabeth-hobbes/1121093242

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781460384640_a-wager-for-the-widow.html

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISABETH HOBBES

Rakes And Rascals

Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author ELISABETH HOBBES to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me onto the blog.  It’s great to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Elisabeth:
I was born and grew up in York.  It was such an interesting place to live and my love of history definitely comes from being surrounded by medieval walls, Roman remains, Viking archaeological sites, Regency crescents and ghost stories.  York is also famous for having over 360 pubs and a lively music scene so as an older teen it was a fun place to hang out with friends and see which of us looked old enough to get served (better not show this to my mum)!

As well as being close to the town we were lucky enough to…

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Medieval Monday – final excerpt

It’s the final week of our ‘first encounter’ excerpts.  Hopefully you’ve been reading this blog each week to discover who I’ve been hosting and where you can find Roger and Lucy’s story.  I’m ending the theme with a final excerpt from Redeeming the Rogue Knight.

‘Give me more wine, Lucy Carew,’ the injured man demanded, reaching for the bottle. Lucy picked it up, then paused before handing it over and took a sip herself. It did little to calm her nerves. The man drained the bottle, spilling a good measure down his face and neck. Lucy wrinkled her nose in disgust. Her mattress would reek of wine—though if it survived without blood being spilled on it that would be a wonder in itself. Gripping the dagger, she bent over the bed to do as she had been bidden. Her hands trembled and she hesitated, drawing her hand back from the cloth.

‘Have you never undressed a man before?’ the man asked with a leer.

‘Never with a knife,’ Lucy answered curtly.

He laughed.

‘I thought a pretty dove who can kiss like you did must know her way around a bed.’

His voice was mocking and Lucy flushed with anger. Voices of condemnation pressed down on her, whispering names that set her cheeks aflame with shame. The voices were right though, weren’t they? Otherwise why would her body have responded in the basest way possible to the uninvited touch of his lips?

She held his gaze, noticing his eyes were increasingly unfocused and the colour was leaving his cheeks once more. He would most likely pass out again, if not from his injury then from the wine he had drunk. She bent over to widen the hole around the arrow at the front and back. The evil-looking tip was crusted with blood, as was his clothing, and her stomach heaved.

The cloak was thick, but the dagger blade was sharp and it came away without too much work. She dropped it down between the bed and wall. Beneath the cloak the man wore a sleeveless padded jerkin, laced at the front. By some fortune the arrow had missed this, piercing his flesh where arm joined body, and the garment was intact. The jerkin was the colour of oak and the cloak was of good quality. Lucy wondered for the first time who he was. She unlaced the jerkin, aware all the time of the man’s eyes upon her.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts.  If you want to find out what happens next you can buy a copy here.

 

 

Medieval Monday with Sherry Ewing

Welcome to the final excerpt in this Medieval Monday theme (next week I’ll be sharing the lsat part of Roger and Lucy’s story).  Today I have Sherry Ewing with me with her excerpt from For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyk.

After you’ve read Sherry’s excerpt don’t forget to head over to her blog to find out what Roger and Lucy are getting up to https://sherryewing.com/blog/

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He shook his head at the fanciful notion that briefly crossed his mind. For a moment, he actually had thoughts of wanting to spend more time with her. He must put an end to such nonsense and any thoughts of what was not meant to be. Whatever was plaguing her, or even her reason for appearing to him, he was unable to do much for her other than to pray she would at last find comfort in her afterlife.

Blurb:

Sometimes to find your future, you must look to the past…

Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Never finding a man to measure up to the one of her imagination, she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England. Yet, strange things begin happening while visiting Bamburgh Castle, but how could they have known they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past?

Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II knowing his past life is about to catch up with him. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber, let alone the fact he begins having a conversation with her.

Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. But there are obstacles threatening the fragile bit of hope that Riorden and Katherine can remain together. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurtle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Buy Links:

Read For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book One) for #FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1zoF0pl

Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/1Iis7D5

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/18UOvm8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1xB3jLv

Medieval Monday with Judith Sterling

It’s time for another Medieval Monday.  Today I’m sharing an excerpt of the first encounter from Judith Sterling’s  Soul of the Wolf.  Remember to leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of this and all the other books featured.

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She held out the garment to him.  With a grumble, he took it.  The woolen cloth was remarkably hot from her touch.

A second raindrop skimmed the tip of his nose.  “I’ll take my leave of you, then,” he said, bowing.  “My lady.”

“My lord.”

He turned and started down the hill.  His mind was spinning.

Soul of the Wolf – Blurb

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

Buy Links

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble

 

Something Different

I wrote this short piece for a Wattpad contest to tie in with The Handmaid’s Tale that I never ended up entering (I didn’t read the small print and it was only open to Canadians I think).

It’s been sitting on my desktop ever since and I haven’t known what to do with it.  This week seems a good time as any to share it.  I haven’t really written short stories before but I hope you enjoy it.  Please let me know what you think.

 

 

The Personal Touch

I’ve never done a TV broadcast before so I’m a little nervous. Wave your hand if I go too fast and I’ll slow down – as the donor said to the Handmaid. Haha! No, not really, we reduce sedation during collections but they’re never fully conscious.

I’m ready. Are you filming now?

“Welcome to North United Reproductive Centre. I’m Greta one of the Handmaids. Our official title is Manual Ejaculate Harvester but that’s a real mouthful so we generally go by the nickname.

“If we go into the collection chamber you can observe one of the donors. As you can see he’s in excellent physical shape thanks to a diet designed to ensure quality is optimum. We don’t want substandard samples slipping through. Careful, we don’t want anyone tripping and pulling out a sedation drip or feeding tube, and definitely not the waste pipe!

“Collection was originally done mechanically but it appears to be more efficient when a woman is involved – subconscious awareness on the part of the donor perhaps. A good Handmaid can extract the harvest in minutes. Eight tugs and a squeeze is the record to beat in this centre. The Personal Touch, as our sign says. Of course there’s no actual contact; Handmaids wear gloves – very strict hygiene regulations. It isn’t a glamorous job. RSA is a problem but we have in-house physio.

“The ethics? It’s a necessary evil. Our foremothers knew that whatever the race, religion or political leanings of the perpetrator, the common factor in almost all atrocities was gender. We can’t reproduce without them so the worldwide sedation of males was deemed necessary. I’m amazed it took so long to reach that conclusion, but I suppose the pioneers had to be cautious. Secretly manufacturing enough sedative was a logistical nightmare, not to mention building storage facilities for the donors. They had to look back to 20th century farming methods for inspiration. Can you imagine the organisation involved to ensure every woman across the world received the original dose and administered it on the same night? Imagine the repercussions of being discovered! Wives, sisters, daughters, mothers; all acting as one. We owe our brave foremothers a huge debt.

“We have enough stock to last for the next eight or nine generations. Thanks to screening, no male embryos make it to the implantation stage but if supplies ever run short we’ll allow enough to replenish supplies. Perhaps our descendants will discover how to curb their violent urges and free range males can be reintroduced.”

‘Fucksake woman! Concentrate! I’m losing it.’

The harsh tone pulls Greta from her favourite daydream back to reality. Concentrating, she finishes the client off with a few dexterous actions.

Without comment he zips his trousers, tosses £20 on the table and leaves the flat. Through the window Greta watches him glance furtively around and shuffle off. She has time for a cuppa before the next one knocks on the door.

One day, she thinks, remembering her daydream. One day.

 

Medieval Monday with Ceci Giltenan

It is my pleasure to welcome Ceci Giltenan to the blog today.  I’m sharing an excerpt from Highland Redemption (Book 1 in the Duncurra Legacy series)

Tomas’s life changed forever when at the age of seven he was adopted by Laird and Lady Maclan ending the abuse he’d suffered at Ambrose Ruthven’s hand. He’d never looked back and never intended to

But fate had other plans…

Now, nineteen years later, he runs headlong into his past. The Ruthvens are in trouble and Tomas is in a position to help them. But can he set aside his hatred for Laird Ruthven for the good of the clan into which he was born?

Fate always adds a twist…

Laird Ruthven’s daughter is not what Tomas expected. Vida Ruthven is sweet, smart, and utterly irresistible.

Now, Tomas must choose between being the savior or taking the ultimate revenge.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Redemption-Duncurra-Legacy-Novel-ebook/dp/B071NL216N

Ceci Giltenan - Highland Redemption cover

They played in silence for a few minutes. He realized she was only three moves from checkmate and he had no way of preventing it. Then, to his surprise, she made a move that killed her chance at checkmate and created an opening for him to win. He’d seen enough of her skill so far to know she’d thrown the game intentionally.

He frowned at her, irritated. “Don’t do that.”

“What?” Her tone was innocent, but her eyes told a different story.

“Put that piece back and make the move ye’d intended to make.”

Follow along next week on Jenna Jaxon’s website: https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/. Remember to leave a comment here for a chance to win an e-copy of Highland Redemption or another e-book of your choice by Ceci Giltenan.

You can find out what Roger and Lucy are getting up to today over at Ceci’s blog

 

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